Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Constitutionalist's Perspective on WikiLeaks

By now chances are that you have heard about the latest WikiLeaks release and have either formed an opinion or sought out the opinions of others. Originally, it was my intention to keep my mouth shut regarding the issue because there are plenty of folks out there giving their opinions and demanding you agree with them. Some have offered balanced assessments, while most--I feel--have spouted ridiculous untruths, based on misguided ideological or partisan bias.

(It is not my intention to get into the nuts and bolts of the released WikiLeaks content in this post. For a good overview I recommend this article. It gives a sample of the content and the situation surrounding it.)

To properly inform one's perspective on the issue, one mustn't be taken in with the alarmism being thrown around. Likewise, one must separate the judgment involved in the releasing of the leaks from the legality of the actions. 

The absurdity coming from many opponents rests on a major misunderstanding--one where personal feelings have clouded proper criticism. Many have called into question the wisdom in releasing documents that could harm US-foreign relations. Such questioning is fine, and I believe sensible people can find themselves on both sides of the fence. Some can find the actions of WikiLeaks to be foolish; others can find them harmless or even heroic. I am not asking anyone to fall into either camp. I am just asking for people not to buy into foolishness.

Congressman Peter King is one of the most vocal peddlers of such foolishness. His blatant disregard for reality and the First Amendment is alarming. King's call for WikiLeaks to be classified as a terrorist organization and statement that the releasing of the WikiLeaks files is "worse than a military attack" proves he is a bit off his rocker, operating in a different world that ignores reality and constitutional freedoms. Anyone who has seen the content of the leaks can easily recognize the treat is one of political embarrassment, not military logistics. Moreover, even Secretary of Defense Gates has admitted that the last WikiLeaks release--which actually did pertain to current military action--yielded no casualties or lasting military failures, contrary to the dooming prophecies of neocons, alarmists, and warmongers alike, who made such claims.

Globalists, administration officials, and neocons may very well have reason to be alarmed at the latest round of WikiLeaks releases, but the chances that our men and women in the military have reason to worry over the works is slim to none. Their only worry should stem from leadership in both parties being ever willing to put and keep them in harm's way.

Clearly, if we are to value freedom, we must not compromise it even when the situation proves difficult. We must protect the freedom of speech and press at all costs, especially when doing so is unpopular. This does not mean, however, that we must agree with the content of that speech or press or even the decision of those producing the content to produce it.

What is being lost in the public discourse is that the wisdom of the leaks can be questioned while upholding the right for the information to be made public. We need not demonize to show disapproval. Calling the releases foolish is one thing, calling it terrorism is quite another. That is where many of the critics fail. Instead of merely disagreeing with the decision for the information to be released and offering their reasons why, many critics demonize WikiLeaks and create unfounded claims against the release of said information.

Whether you agree or disagree with the decision of WikiLeaks to release the information; there is no right to call their actions terrorism. Once again: calling something unwise or reckless is one thing; claiming terrorism and calling for a suspension of constitutional rights is quite another.

Over the past week I have seen utter hysteria over these new leaks. Looking at them objectively, I laugh at how bent out of shape some are getting over the incident--especially considering how tame the leaks are compared to the last batch. What I find most alarming is how quickly people are willing to label the action of WikiLeaks "terrorism" and completely throw the Constitution out when considering the matter. Moreover, the true colors of many pundits and politicians is being well displayed. We see how globalist many are in their concerns, how deep neoconservatism has imbeded itself into modern political thought, and how much of a battle those of us who desire a humble and constitutional foreign policy still have to fight.

When considering the WikiLeaks issue I was reminded of my hero Thomas Jefferson's words to Charles Yancey where he wrote, "The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."

I think we know where Mr. Jefferson would have sided on the issue.

I leave you with the words of Ron Holland, which echo my own sentiments:
I join with real conservatives not the false neocon war advocates hoping these leaks do not threaten our troops or necessary intelligence operatives. Still Americans must understand it is Washington and economic interests that have actually placed our troops at risks in foreign military wars and occupations not in the real interests of the United States, the nations invaded or civilians killed.

1 comment:

  1. Daryl here is another well written piece, and I forgive you for the mistakes. Don't rely on spell check functions alone, they don't catch things such as "person" when is should be "personal." Grammar lesson aside, this is a rare sane perspective considering recent comments, as you suggest in the article. I am undecided as to how to address matters such as this from my own unique position as I am not a citizen, yet!! But I sense that your claim about a humble foreign policy is a laudable aim, even though it is not as popular as it ought to be! I have been thinking a bit about the role the Bible as a whole should have in nation building and governance, and so I am questioning the entire matter of the constitution as a human document in relation to the Bible, and where ultimate authority is found. The issue may boil down to "We the People," vs. "Thus saith the Lord," and if so, I must take my stand with God. This may prove to be even less popular than your perspective. But the question of liberty that you are constantly underscoring should be raised continually, so I admire your stand. Keep up the insightful work. Blessings!